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Comment: Re:Winner (Score 4, Insightful) 147

"This scheme is a great success that is transforming the Brazilian culture"

And American culture too, I predict. As we don't have time for our elderly, I wonder how many more will find new little friends on the internet to whom they can recount their stories and who will keep them company?

This is a good story for everyone.

Comment: The probabilities of multiple cot deaths (Score 5, Interesting) 166

by ph1ll (#46274495) Attached to: Why Improbable Things Really Aren't

Another example is in the curious case of Professor Meadows - a great paediatrician but a shite mathematician.

He endorsed the dictum that “one sudden infant death is a tragedy, two is suspicious and three is murder, until proved otherwise“. The trouble is, given enough numbers, multiple cot deaths are an inevitability.

Unfortunately, his expert testimony convicted an innocent woman. Fortunately, she was released on appeal when the math was reviewed.

Comment: Re:So much disinformation... (Score 1) 152

by ph1ll (#46254445) Attached to: Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter

Mod parent up.

I'm getting bored of articles about Venezuela's so-called dictatorship. Ask yourself:

  1. Why is Venezuela's democracy questioned when former US President, Jimmy Carter, whose foundation monitors these things, says "of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world"?
  2. Why does the media spend so much time vilifying Venezuela's democracy when our friends in Saudi Arabia chop off the head of a princess in a car park, ban women from driving and do not have elections but have a rather nasty dictator? "Ignore that man behind the curtain" - apparently it's hateful little Venezuela with their elections that keep voting in socialists that are the real problem not the Islamic dictatorships of the Middle East with whom we can more easily negotiate oil supplies.
  3. Does it have anything to do with Venezuela having the world's largest proven reserves of oil? And that despite all the animosity between Venezuela and the United States, it still is the fourth largest exporter of oil to the US? Or could it be that it used to have a habit of threatening to stop selling oil to the United States? A self-destructive move but one which it had every right to do.

Venezuela is undeniably badly run. But in a democracy, a country has the right (within reason) to run their affairs as they see fit.

Comment: Re:hrm (Score 1) 730

by ph1ll (#45515919) Attached to: Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

She actually has a lot of power and sometimes she exercises it. For instance, in Australia (another one of her domains) she dissolved the parliament there via her proxy, John Kerr. This was 1975 so it was not recent but neither was it that long ago.

For the most part, the Aussies were grateful as both their parties had descended into a mutual death spiral. The dissolution allowed the common man to give their politicians a good kicking in the subsequent elections.

Comment: Re:And if they do this, we have to do that, and... (Score 4, Insightful) 433

by ph1ll (#44782121) Attached to: US Intercepts Iranian Order For Attack On US Embassy In Iraq

"The full on assault of Libya, and Iraq took 14-20 days. and we rolled over their defenses with minimal to no losses of our own. Do you honestly think iran would last longer than 30 days againist a full on military strike?"

And how many days did it take America to "roll over" Vietnam?

America is the World's pre-eminent super power but as soon as their boys start returning home in body bags, they lose the taste for war. Do you think Iran doesn't know this?

You can't compare Iran with Iraq. Iran is 4 times as large, over twice as populated and (unlike Iraq) largely ethnically homogenous and pretty unified. They lost between 300 000 and 600 000 in their war with Iraq and suffered chemical attacks but they still repelled the invaders (who were being assisted by the US). Can you image America taking even a small percentage of those casualties?

I don't want to sound down on America, but if you think this is going to be a walk in the park, you're going to get your asses kicked.

Comment: Re:So what's new? (Score 1) 222

by ph1ll (#44632073) Attached to: Syrian Rebels Claim Hundreds Killed By Poison-Gas Attack

"I remember when Iraqi soldiers were throwing babies out ot incubators in Kuwait..."

Are you aware that this has long been dismissed as propaganda? Have a read here:

"Though reporters did not then have access to Kuwait, [the] testimony was regarded as credible at the time and was widely publicized. It was cited numerous times by United States senators and the president in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War...

"Following the liberation of Kuwait, reporters were given access to the country and found the story of stolen incubators unsubstantiated....

"In 1992, it was revealed that [the woman giving testimony] was the daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government. Following this, al-Sabah's testimony has largely come to be regarded as wartime propaganda."

Fell for it first time. Are we going to fall for it again?

Comment: Re:Remember this (Score 0) 506

"But eventually they will have to come to terms with the fact that 1400? year old religious-based legal system just cannot be applied in a modern world... then it will really be no more violent/dangerous than modern day Christianity"

You mean it will start two World Wars and one Holocaust?

Comment: Re:This Is Considered News?? (Score 1) 303

by ph1ll (#44208397) Attached to: Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers

"The monarch of the UK also has almost no power in the government ... Just the ability to veto legislation..."

Am I missing something? That's a huge amount of power. You don't have to use the power. The fact that you have the power will stop people putting forward legislation that they know you will veto.

(It's interesting to note that officially the UK's form of government is not a democracy but a "unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy". The difference is important to lawyers if not citizens.)

"[B]y claiming the Quran as a basis for the laws of your country, you're inherently going to bias them towards Muslims."

That would be directly contrary to the Constitution (as quoted in my previous post).

Also, I don't see non-Christians being discriminated against in Western countries whose constitutions are clearly based on Christian values.

Good point about the "the 3 Abrahamic religions" being covered in the Constitution, though.

"In addition, it describes the details as being set in law, which means they're completely subject to change at any time, not an absolute right as we would consider it."

How do you make something an absolute right? You can't. Putting it in the Constitution (which declares your legal modus operandus) is the best way but even that is subject to change. The American constitution has had 27 amendments, most recently in 1992.

"As for the issue of the legitimacy of the constitution itself, the High Constitutional Court ruled it was illegitimate..."

So, unelected judges mostly appointed during a dictator's 30 year reign trump the will of the people?

"I don't believe 33% is a reasonable number to have voted on it..."

With respect, it doesn't matter what you think. The majority of people who voted were in favour of it. That's all that counts in a democracy.

If you claim there was systematic coercion, then please present some evidence and an explanation why nobody thought this was worth reporting. Otherwise, this is speculation and not relevant to the discussion.

Comment: Re:This Is Considered News?? (Score 1) 303

by ph1ll (#44207925) Attached to: Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers

What's so surprising about an Islamic country having an Islamic constitution? Most Christian countries have Christian principles enshrined in their laws too. The monarch of the UK for instance is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

"Considering he used his power to prevent the constitution from being altered..."

If the people didn't like the constitution as Morsi's team wrote it, they had the chance to reject it in the referendum of December 2012. They didn't. They voted for it by a majority of 64%.

"...and he's a part of a strong Islamist group"

You mean the coalition that won a fair election?

Obviously, I've not read all the former Egyptian Constitution but it does have this proviso in it:

"Citizens are equal before the law and are equal in general rights and duties without discrimination between them based on gender, origin, language, religion, belief, opinion, social status or disability."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Egypt

That doesn't sound that terrifying to me. Now, compare that to Egypt's neighbour, Saudi Arabia, where women are not even allowed to drive and I, as a non-Muslim, do not have the same rights in court as a Muslim. Yet, I don't see us supporting a coup there...

Comment: Re:This Is Considered News?? (Score 1) 303

by ph1ll (#44207435) Attached to: Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers

"You don't remember back in November, when Morsi granted himself unlimited legislative power with no oversight?"

Yes, I do and I also remember (from the link you yourself posted) that "On 9 December, Confusion and disarray pervaded the ranks of Egypt's opposition after Morsi rescinded his November 22 constitutional declaration a day earlier."

So, he revoked the powers he had granted himself less than three weeks later. As I understand it, he gave himself these powers to protect the writing of the constitution that was later put to the people in a referendum. It was the opposition who were against letting the people decide on the constitution:

"Opposition leaders also called for more protests after Morsi refused to cancel the constitutional referendum in the wake of the declaration's annulment." (from your article).

The people from whom he was protecting the constitution were the unelected judges who were appointed during the reign of the previous dictator, Mubarak.

I'm not saying Morsi is a saint (he isn't). But the American media is making him out to be a bogey man because he is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood (who happen to be the party who won power in what is regarded as a free and fair election). And nobody in the American media is calling BS on the Obama administration for refusing to recognise this as a military coup. If they call it a military coup, by law they can no longer pay the people who overthrew Morsi $1.3 billion a year. Don't you find that just a little odd?

Comment: Re:This Is Considered News?? (Score 2) 303

by ph1ll (#44205733) Attached to: Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers

Morsi tried to "declare himself dictator for life after being elected."

Sorry, but citation needed. I've been Googling for this and can't find him guilty of anything above rank incompetence.

If anybody can show me what he did that was so bad other than being a crap leader or vague accusations of being devious and manipulative (of course he is! He's a frikkin' politician!) I'd love to see it.

The most factual account I can find is here where author Esam Al-Amin says:

"The people in Egypt went to the polls at least six times: to vote for a referendum to chart the political way forward (March 2011), to vote for the lower and upper house of parliament (November 2011-January 2012), to elect a civilian president over two rounds (May-June 2012), and to ratify the new constitution (December 2012). Each time the electorate voted for the choice of the Islamist parties to the frustration of the secular and liberal opposition.

"To the discontent of the Islamists, all their gains at the polls were reversed by either the Mubarak-appointed Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) or the military."

I'm really trying not to be a troll but people keep saying that Morsi wanted to become a dictator but I can't find any stories of him doing anything other than breaking election promises. In my country, that's considered pretty normal and no cause for a coup.

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